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Leila S. Case: Decision to try yoga again the right one

“It’s Fabulous Friday,” announces Paige Greene in the soft, soothing voice to everyone on bright colored mats scattered about the hard gym floor.
I look around. We’re all sitting Native American fashion, legs crossed in front. It reminds me of my kindergarten class and the way we sat on the pale yellow linoleum painted with happy Humpty Dumpty characters. This was different. It wasn’t my kindergarten class. We weren’t there to hear the teacher read but to stretch and bend and curl or bodies into different positions.
Stop dreaming, I remind myself. You’re in yoga class.
“It’s Fabulous Friday,” the soft-voiced instructor says again from the riser. The lights are dimmed. Melodious music plays while I ponder, “Will this be fabulous Friday or fiasco Friday for me?” I would soon know.
Paige is a certified yoga instructor and I was among those in her large class at Southwest Georgia Fitness Center, where I have been “working out” the past eight years on the stationary bike, the elliptical, without having a stroke or heart attack, and the treadmill. I love it — I feel better afterward but I can’t hold a toned muscle to some of the diehards. Some actually RUN instead of walk on the treadmill. Can you imagine? I can only watch and admire. Their muscles are strong — their bodies glisten with sweat as they work to the max.  These are slim and svelte people y’all. Unfortunately I am not. God didn’t intend me to look like a runway model but more like the Humpty Dumpty’s painted on the kindergarten linoleum — an image I have relentlessly tried to defy through exercise  —  something my body really dislikes but my brain has more sense and always wins the argument. The result is aches and pains. The reward afterwards is awesome — a long hot soak in the bathtub with a glass of cool wine.
So, I thought, I’ll change my tactics. I’ll try yoga again. I enjoyed it once when I took from Sissy Ledbetter. Besides Mark and Anne Barrett, my son and daughter-in-law, sing the praises and benefits of their yoga class led by Gabrielle Stauff, another certified yoga instructor. They put their bodies through contortions. It’s paid off.
So, here I am with Paige who tells us again it’s “Fabulous Friday.” I march into the gym with my hot pink floor mat under my arm, wearing black tights and a long aquamarine tee that covers the bulges, and sit on the hard gym floor, like I once did in kindergarten. But instead of Miss Montgomery reading a story, it’s Paige who speaks in low tones and instructs us to bend, curl and stretch. We do as she says — at least the others do. The positions have names, too, like cow (that’s me), child (in my heart), cat (like a Halloween cat) and others I don’t remember. My muscles wake up and ask, “What’s going on?” I tell them to be quiet. It’s difficult enough to pay attention to Paige’s instructions without having my muscles scream at the top of their voices.
I watch the clock. The hands move slowly — the hour is up! I made it. My brain shouts “Hallelujah.” Paige did make Friday fabulous and not a fiasco. Come join me.
OUT AND ABOUT: Furlow Gatewood tooling around on his birthday in his gray Mini Cooper convertible with the top down; join me in singing happy birthday as well to Joni Woolf; elsewhere former resident Bob Ivey of Los Angeles shares news of Gladys Crabb, the formidable retired English teacher at Americus High School and remembered by many, many of her students and community residents. He says Gladys continues to have a pleasant retirement in Clear Lake, a lovely little town on a very large lake in northern California. Gladys lives with daughter Katie Andre, as she has for the past several years, and she recently celebrated her 93rd birthday; former State Sen. George Hooks informs me that the trinity shaped gold fish pond at historic Oak Grove Cemetery has been cleaned, refilled and stocked with new gold fish. Indeed it is pristine and sparkling — go look; the senator’s son, Bardin Hooks, and his fiancé Hayden Hadley, both attorneys, will marry next Saturday — huge congrats to the couple. I imagine the three-year-old flower girls in their wedding party, Sloan Arnold and Anna Gail Hammack, will receive as many compliments as the bride; Pam Davis leading a lively discussion at the Episcopal Women’s Book Club; it was girls-lunch-out recently at Roman Oven for Mary Duke, her daughters Yvonne Edwards and Vickie Crew along with granddaughter Kendall Crew; returning from holidays are Dr. Gatewood and Cindy Dudley who have been to Arkansas; Andy and Lori Shivers are home from Panama City, Fla., and will venture next to Phoenix, Arizona; Chuck and Claire Simmerson are home from Highlands, North Carolina; Stick and Elise Miller baby-sitting grandchildren Matthew and Kate; home from mission trips are Dr. Brett and Anna Law and twins who were in Africa, and Alford and Shannon Warren were in Santiago, Cuba; Jessi Simmons and Jenny Reeves lunching alfresco downtown; enjoying the “rivah” recently were Thurston and Gail Clary, Cindy Pryor, Marylynn Joiner, James Edgemon, Nick Owens, Chris and Meg Usrey, Rene and Angela Smith, Sally Edgemon and Hope Henderson; and Lexie Cheokas is off to Florida State University, Tallahassee. Lexie spent the past year in the university’s study abroad program; it was great to see former resident Kay Smith Green of Macon and Susan Flatt of Albany at a workshop in Macon also was attended by Wilma Kinslow, Jane Arnold and me; congratulations to Chet and Mary Ann Crowley, Meg and Ashley Goodin and Ricky and Tami Duke who are observing a wedding anniversary, and get well soon wishes to Bill Harris Sr.

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.